‘Courtesy’ my arse

I don’t know if I’m getting more impatient with age, but I have never experienced such bad customer service as I have in Perth. Maybe it’s because WA works on a completely different level of urgency to the rest of the world, or because the ‘Wait Awhile’ attitude is all people have grown to expect. Whatever the reason, when it comes to getting anything done, it’s bloody irritating.

Restaurants can often take 30 minutes to serve you coffee, and by then it’s stone cold. Or, as happened to me recently, they nuke your apple pie in the microwave and leave you with a burnt oesophagus and large medical bills to repair the damage. In any other country that would be a lawsuit waiting to happen, here the manager just laughed it off and told me I need to be more careful what I eat.

It’s common for telephone companies to try rounding your bills up to whatever prime number springs into their head, and then take months of arguing before they eventually pay the money back. And dare ask a question in a shop, and you can sometimes be made to feel like you’re inconveniencing the assistant.

The latest establishment to have my eyes rolling back in annoyance is the Kia dealership in Wangara.

My Rio – a car which bears a remarkable resemblance to a Dinky toy – is broken again. Having already had new parts fitted back last June to correct a faint knocking noise in the engine, it recently started to do the same thing again. This time the knocking noise was so loud it sounded like something was about to drop out of the engine.

So I drove my sickly car into Kia and asked the head mechanic to come out for a little spin. Of course he had absolutely no idea what the noise was, which, while very predictable, seemed a little odd as they’d already fixed it once before. I was just glad he heard the noise at all. I was fully expecting sods law to intervene and to be left looking like a neurotic woman driver making a fuss about nothing.

Two days later the car was dropped off and I asked to be provided with a replacement car while I was waiting for the repairs to be made. Pretty normal request I would have thought, especially considering the car was only 2-years-old and had its service just the week before.

Sorry, there were no cars available for me to use I was told, Kia don’t cover this in their warranty. Even if the fault is as a result of the rather flimsy design. If I would like I could hire a ‘courtesy car’ from them however, I could pay $33 a day. Plus an additional 25 cents for each km I drove.

Seriously? Since when is it a ‘courtesy car’ if you have to pay for it.

The last time I looked in a dictionary, the word ‘courtesy’ meant to provide something out of generosity –  a polite gesture. Preferably free of charge. The word doesn’t mean to fleece a stranded customer and then, to add insult to injury, try to charge them $13 more than the local car rental company would.

“So how long do you reckon the work is going to take then?” I asked.
“We don’t know” they helpfully replied.

Marvelous. Judging on the last time they tried to fix it, it took nearly 3 weeks. So that would be $630 dollars plus mileage (plus the month’s motor finance payment) out of my pocket, to pay for a car that shouldn’t be broken in the first place.

Surely that can’t be right?

The gear box was eventually taken apart and half-a-dozen new parts ordered from the East coast. I think the parts had to cross the country by train, because obviously the warranty wouldn’t cover anything as costly as DHL.

After waiting several weeks for any news I’ve finally been told the car might actually be ready to collect tomorrow. Although more likely next Tuesday. Or possibly towards the end of that week. Sometime anyway, depending on the mood of the person fitting the parts and whether they need to knock off early each day to watch the footy.

No rush guys, really. We love being left high, dry and car less. It makes life so much more interesting, especially when Mother Nature has a strop on.



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